May 30, 2012

The Tambo Cometh

Head down to Calsurf on Friday (June 1!) to hopefully see a triumphant CJ Tambornino rip apart a big-time company video, doing all the expected NBDs the way, only he, so well, could do.

It's a shame so many other dudes are getting higher billing than our local boy, CJ (in light of this recent post, no, I'm not overvaluing locality), but I have a feeling East Lake Street's finest will come through. He, buried at the end of the poster, might just be the sleeper guy like Bill Murray* in some zombie movie, stealing the show.

*Murray and CJ similarities, with no mention of Slimer, go!

PS: No higher res flyer could be found at the time of this typing.

The iPad and the ATM

There's only so much time to attempt to write high-minded-ish 1,000 word blog posts: With that said, above is photographic proof of DeShawn Stevenson's kitchen ATM, which must be the NBA equivalent of Rob Dyrdek's time machine or Dill's blood wall.

The news that Zered Bassett is off Zoo (along with a handful of other legit dudes) harkens back to this Boil The Ocean post highlighting the haves and have-nots in skateboard world, featuring, in its own way, Zered himself. One hopes for a soft landing, somewhere, for Dr. Z and the discussed Vicious Sequel to actually happen.

Wiskate has GIFs and GIFs and GIFs. That ollie by Nordness is rad just because it is exactly what it is, fun to see.

I was wondering... Bring it back dudes.

Is it too early to anoint the San Antonio Spurs as America's Team? After the drubbing they bestowed upon (Middle) America's Other Team tonight, the Oklahoma City Thunder, it sort of feels forgone. I expected OKC and Timmy and Co. to at least split the first two, but now the Spurs are rolling and more than five games for the series seems like a dream for OKC. On the other coast? I see a bit of my early 20's slip away with every Kevin Garnett-botched-dunk. Sure, the mid-range game is still intact, but the purported seven footer (6'11" was a lie for a long time) has no lift and a team cannot live on psychosis alone. The dastardly Miami Heat in five as well, if not four. We'll see.

May 29, 2012

"Say 'Shhh'"

This weekend the Strib posted a commentary about how the Twin Cities may value its music scene a bit too much, penned by, take your irony as you'd like, a writer for A Prairie Home Companion, Laura Buchholz. Buchholz argues that institutions like MPR and its little bro, The Current, rep the scene a little too hard and a little too blindly. She writes that there isn't enough legitimate criticism of the music scene and that far too often, things that should be called out are given a pass because they're "local" (She cites terrible band names like "Trampled by Turtles" as an example of things that are blindly accepted; I'm not sure it's a strong argument, but I'm sure that it is indeed a terrible band name, though I've never heard their music).
To be sure, Buchholz is decidedly tongue in cheek about the whole thing, something lost on the commenters (though some, more on it later, do get her point), writ large by her discussion of Mark Wheat's "champagne" accent and the pithy reminder that we still have an AWESOME local beer brewing scene. Buchholz doesn't really get down to a remedy for the "problem" as she sees it, or exactly why it's a problem in the first place. However, as mentioned, some of her commenters understand her argument and why it must be made. One guy named mrkennedy gets it and explains:
I've been waiting for the day that Minnesota stops being so, well, Minnesota. We've got good music, we've also got some pretty lame music and the state isn't going to crumble like a deck of cards if the weak are separated from the strong. Ever since I moved here I've been amazed at the fear so many critics have of being too critical of anything local. Hence, nothing gets better, nothing gets all that worse, it just drifts along. Everything gets a standing ovation, everything is "nice", and MPR can't go fifteen seconds without patting itself on the back and/or saying the word "MInnesota" on the air as if people will forget where they are.
If you've been around skateboarding long enough, you know that skateboarders don't take criticism well, be it on a personal or impersonal level. There are countless comment threads out there that will back me up on this. For the most part, anything that is put out by anyone is deemed worthy of some sort of praise. I understand that feeling to an extent, because the effort of making something and putting it out there should always be valued over the position of someone who simply wants to consume and critique. The same goes for those that put together events, shows, etc. There should be a baseline value placed on trying.
Maybe you've seen this, maybe I even posted this: An obituary for facts. How does that apply here? I'm claiming we've got to place some inherent value on "work" (hey Locke) in skateboarding (or by extension, local music), but I'd also argue that said work is still categorically good or bad, with some wiggle-room left for intellectually honest debate. The facts about work must be taken into account at some point, or, like the comment quoted above says, "nothing gets better, nothing gets all that worse, it just drifts along."
I've been loathe to mention it here on the main page, but about a month back, a commenter made a passionate if not coherent argument that the Familia HQ could have been more "creative." While I invite you to take a look at what the anonymous guy had to say, I'm not sure you'll be able to squeeze much more out of his 1,000 or so words than what my dismissive summary has to offer (the most specific idea he had was to bite elements from Cream City). If it's not already abundantly clear, I disagree with the guy (and for transparency, yes, I do work for Familia, though I'm by no means on the clock or compelled to put this out there by anyone bit me). My point is that they guy had it demonstrably wrong on a factual basis.
However, I do have to give him a modicum of credit for coming out with what is, to be sure, an unpopular opinion (gone about the wrong way, anonymously on the Internet, for legitimacy's sake). His rants are the type of thing that keep people from drifting along; he does rail against accepting the status quo, though it's misguided when he rails against a sight-unskated.
Perhaps this treatment of anonymous is becoming a bit heavy-handed. Let me be clear: Sober, intellectually honest criticism is a good and constructive thing, again, a defense against drifting that touchy-ass skateboarders need just as much as "Trampled by Turtles."
Do we love this skate scene too much? Do we give it a pass when it doesn't deserve one, rewarding mediocrity the same way we reward truly great aspects? Do we need a Buchholz-like column to figure this out (if this is or isn't one already, I'm not sure)? I think of video names when it comes to this question as a way of parsing out attitudes. Names like Midoploly and Midwest Marauders tend to evoke a mid-centric type of feeling while Anonymous and Flow Trash are self-deprecating (or a self-congratulating evocation of so-called "Midwestern humility," who knows?). The names seem to indicate we at once want to celebrate the greatness and the shittiness of the scene and our cities all at once, which might very well be the truth of the whole matter. It's the cousin of an East Coaster's pride in where he's from, vaunting rough spots and crummy weather above the cushiness of the West, though never stooping to the Midwesterner's nagging thought that even though he praises the suckiness of where he chooses to live, where he chooses to live might actually suck.
I won't go that far, however, on the scene's merits of three* indoor parks, numerous private bowls and ramps, shops both in-and-out-city that actively promote the health of this place and a bunch of skateboarders that have genuine and well-founded pride in what they do and where they do it. This is not meant to read like some "Atmosphere" song, though, because there's plenty of decent that could be better and more than enough disillusionment to go around. What counter-arguments would Buchholz have found if she'd just said something like that?

*I originally forgot Summit Skatepark.

May 23, 2012

May 21, 2012


Excuse my absence. Had nothing to post about, until Fulton went and made a throwaway montage, upon which I must point out, the caliber of cutting-room-floor clips has increased over the years.

Max Murphy ups the ante on obscure pivot fakies.

Randomly, a longview look at suicide that's well worth the read.

You can see I still don't have much to put out there. Until (not that much) later.

May 10, 2012

Stadium Bills

This sat on the desktop for a while: Mike Guy boardslides while a pint-sized Jamiel Nowparver looks on wearing some Koston 2s (based on the shoes' luminosity). The 90's.

This New York Times story about middle-aged people skateboarding is very strange. It's a story written by an outsider about outsiders which discounts about 25 years of skate history to maintain a pretty worn out narrative. That, and Stacy Peralta is insufferable.

Jerboi Spencer Gillespie re-edited Westgate footage for Jenkem.

Does the Viking's stadium approval simply mean the demise of the Metrodome as a spot?

On the non-skate front, here's some amazing reporting from Libya and a story that shows that what the president did yesterday was in fact a big deal, a story from the mid-90's on a string of murders of gay men in Texas.

May 9, 2012


Cody Davis and Jack Olson did some mind melters over the weekend at Top Shop, along with some ripping by out-of-towners too. Also, in all my years working at The Lair, I never had to deal with anything quite like this.

Props to President Obama on his life-hammer, today.

May 5, 2012


The Skate Oasis and basketball at Prince's. Hat tip to Badger.

The Name Game

If there were actually some sort of ring to Cancer Survivor's Park or if we actually wanted to call a skate spot that, I'm still confidant that we'd deny the spot the official name and come up with something more palatable, something, anything else. Something it was already called: The Fed, or the Old Fed, if we must be technical.

A read I'd wanted to read escaped my time at the shop today but I picked it back up this evening, with the girl asleep, nobody in Northeast for more fun endeavors and The Playoffs over, for the night. Read Errol Morris' What's in a Name? if you have the time, because it's long. What I drew out of it was something like this. He quotes John Stuart Mill and the quote is this: “Proper names are attached to the objects themselves, and are not dependent upon the continuance of any attribute of the object.”

The reason this all comes up is because of the previous post about The Roofs. The elegance of the spot name, the basic descriptiveness of it, was all I need to have to think about the subject of the article linked above and the transigence of spot names. Even rendered unskateable, The Roofs are the roofs, even the ledges section, because that's just what they are. The ledges could be all that's left, and still, The Roofs. The Fed is The Fed to older dudes because it can never be anything else, even when most of the old granite is now grass and it has the bummer name and the most recognizable obstacle is a 10-stair rail and not curbs and flatground and mellow steps (Any federal business has moved down nearer to the river). Gold Rail and Reliastar and Pilsbury; the new name never replaces the old official but nothing is dependent on the continuace of any attribution of the object, or the new name, because the spot seems to stay the same, one way or the other.

May 2, 2012

Quietly Into The Night

Taking sourcing to weird, new places, according to CJ Tambornino on Instagram, tomorrow, Thursday, is the last day The Roofs at Hidden Falls will be skateable.

It's a strange ending for what slowly became one of the Twin Cities' most iconic and recognizable spots. For being a draw of dudes from all over the country, the heavy lifting at The Roofs was carried out by locals with few out-of-towners doing much of note. Props to dudes like Elijah Collard, Anthony Hart, Dom Randazzo and Mr. Tambornino himself for breaking in the spot, finding new lines and wreaking utter destruction while there.

It's difficult for me to write a eulogy of The Roofs because I pretty much hated the spot because I never figured out how to skate it. The first time I was there was on a suburbs-to-city skate-exchange-program in the late 90's with Elijah and others. We skated the place like a series of hips and nobody went over the point. Fast forward a bit to the filming of Anonymous, and to my knowledge, Elijah was the first guy to loft ollies over the point, as seen here. It's funny that his ollies were relegated to 16mm art foote, but it's sort of understandable since nobody really could have imagined the nollie 360 heelflips over the point, 360 flips off onto the table (!!!, still) or the whatever the hell you'd call what CJ dids*. If those roofs could speak.

What makes The Roof's demise "strange," as said above, is that it took so damn long. The spot was skated over the course of three decades and beyond that, it's the roof of a picnic structure in a city park. One theory of why it took so long to become defunct, outside of the fact that no one was seriously injured skating there (too my knowledge), is that it was a picnic structure in a city park. This may be a theory to analyze more for another time, but perhaps it takes a little bit more to galvanize public funds to render a public place unskateable [one thinks of the persistence of the Government Center ledges as one example (on a tangent, peep the photo Phil Schwartz** put on Twitter of the Rainbow Banks from the 70's the other day and wonder why those are still skatable too), while plenty of privately held spots downtown are skate-proofed].

Pour one out for The Roofs if you deem it worthy. I won't, just because of the reason above. There is, if we are to look for a silver lining, a bit of utility in the demise of spots. Like a certain three-flat-three near MCTC, The Roofs are one of those maxed out places in Twin Cities skateboarding that may best be admired in retirement. It was awesome while it lasted.

Now, who's working on that Roofs compilation?

*It's hard to name because nollie 360s aren't technically supposed to be called cabs. But let's break that rule for clarity. Here goes: nollie cab 540 double flip. Maybe it was easier than I thought.

**I'd used proper names throughout, no matter how much I wanted to use Philmer Phil, for clarity's sake, of course.

Married With Children

This one just kind of showed up in the form of a text message. Dudes rip. 30+ for life!